#42 Change the way DV starts


I see a fair number of complaints about the way DV starts in terms of how the connect dialog works, handles errors, etc... I think that, coupled with the fact that I'd like to enhance it a bit, leads me to want to change the way DV starts.

We would still start with the splash screen with the three buttons. The start new report button however would lead to a new dialog, the New Report Wizard.

I see three main options that would be presented... (1) Start a blank report, (2) Start a report from a template, (3) Start a report based on an existing report.

Option 1 then leads to a Data Source dialog. Here, you can choose from perhaps a couple of options, including JDBC data source (what we have today) and data file source (so you could run a report against a CSV file for instance).

The JDBC data source dialog would be similar to what we have today with a couple of enhancements... first, I'd like to store any data sources that are successfully connected to and present them in a dropdown, so the person could just select one and be good to go (minus password, which they still have to enter). Second, I'd like to present a dropdown of JDBC drivers available... I'm not sure it's possible to enumerate all available drivers, if it is then this should work. Third, this dialog would be a lot more forgiving of errors, i.e., would try and give better clues about what the problem might be (ClassNotFound at least should be reported in a user-friendly way, as should any errors that occur when you connect to the database but can't log in). Also, it shouldn't bomb and lose what the user entered thus far under any circumstances.

Option 2 presents a "gallery" of common report types. For each, it would then ask some straightforward questions (starting with the data source dialog as described above), things like for a simple columnar report, what columns to include, etc. This might be a lot more work than I think, so option 2 would probably wind up being the last thing I do.

Option 3 asks if you want to clone the entire report or just its data source. That should be pretty straightforward.


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